Press photos available upon request
Dance Mission Theater and MamaCoatl present
GUARDIANAS DE LA VIDA
A healing arts music, dance and poetry festival honoring San Francisco’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls
Saturday, November 24th at 7pm
Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF CA 94110
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – On Saturday, November 24th, Bay Area residents will observe the United Nations’ annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls with music, healing ceremonies, dance, art, poetry and information. The commemoration will kick off with a community gathering and healing arts festival taking place in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District at Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., beginning at 7 pm. A $15 entrance fee is requested to cover costs, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Under the title “Guardianas de la Vida” (Guardians of Life), the evening asks us to take a moment to pause and question why it is that in the year 2012 we are still dealing with issues surrounding femicide, an epidemic that crosses borders, and includes an official proclmation by Supervisor John Avalos recognizing November 25th as San Francisco’s International Day for Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls.
“It is important that we continue to dismantle the culture of violence” said MamaCoatl (pronounced mama-coe-ah-tull), who – with co-sponsorship from Sophia University, Palo Alto (formerly Institute of Transpersonal Psychology) – spearheaded the day’s observance.“The City of San Francisco has issued annual proclamations for the last seven years, to remind all that much work needs to be done at all levels when it comes to addressing violence,” she added. At no time of the year is this intervention more appropriate than the last week of November, when the American identity is reinforced by the unconscious glorification of genocide inherent in the Thanksgiving holiday.”
The show begins with an invocation by Yoruba chief, author and professor Luisah Teish, followed by the poetry of Nina Serrano and Yosimar Reyes. Other artists include: Bata drummer Carolyn Brandy; singer-songwriters MamaCoatl and Maria Loreto Ramirez Morales; Afro-Cuban folkloric dancer Susana Arenas Pedroso; poet and street dancer Nicole Klaymoon; modern dancer and teenager Paloma McFly; and the brass Balkan fusion band Inspector Gadje. Master healer Marja West will perform a community healing ritual. Curator MamaCoatl will act as mistress of ceremonies.
Food and drink will also be available.
MamaCoatl is also also preparing a Healer’s Saloon at Ictus Gallery that will be held on Sunday, November 25th, starting at 2 PM. The community is invited to attend this event as well to receive holistic treatments from a variety of health practitioners at no cost.
For more information about Guardianas de la Vida, the Healing Saloon and the behind the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women please visit
About the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women:
On December 17, 1999, the United Nations’ General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations to launch activities to raise public awareness of the problem on that day.
Women’s activists have marked November 25 as a day against violence since 1981, in remembrance of the brutal assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists, in the Dominican Republic on November 25, 1960, on orders from Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo. More information can be found athttp://www.un.org/depts/dhl/violence.
About Sophia University:
Founded in 1975 as Institute of Transpersonal Psychology or ITP, Sophia University is a leader in transpersonal research and education of clinicians, spiritual guides, wellness caregivers, and consultants who apply transpersonal principles and values in a variety of settings. With its holistic approach to education and psychotherapy, Sophia attracts students from all over the world to both residential and distance-learning programs. In addition to its Women’s Spirituality and other graduate programs, Sophia University operates the Community Center for Health & Wellness, a professional counseling center and training facility offering quality services at an affordable sliding scale fee to the surrounding community. More information can be found at www.sofia.edu.
About MamaCoatl, event curator:
MamaCoatl is a barrio poet, songstress, performance activist, and spiritual healer who comes from the Yaqui people of the Sonora desert. Based in the Mission district, her work explores sound, ritual and cultural activism as power sources for public health.
MamaCoatl received an M.A. in Women Spirituality from New College of California and MFA in Creative Inquiry.
In 2006 MamaCoatl brought International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls to San Francisco after performances in Mexico and Peru. The event has become an annual celebration of healing and nonviolence including sixteen days of action, “artivism,” healing and education in the Mission district’s community.
About the artists:
Marja West: Marja West is a spriritual teacher/mentor and a self-described “ Semi-Wrathful Dakini-Divine Love Agent Provocateu.” A master healer/medical intuitive, she is a the host on Human Spririt Radio’s Waking Gods & Goddesses – Emboding divine Wisdom and the Sensual Life.
Susana Arenas Pedroso: Susana Arenas Pedroso began her artistry in dance at age 12 when she took the opportunity to study at the Casa de la Cultura in Matanzas, Cuba. She began dancing professionally with Terra Virgen in 1991, She continues on to dance with Alafia Ire, Oche Olorum and in 1994 she joined world renowned Raices Profundas as a soloist. After settling in the Bay Area in 1999, she merged her two former companies (Olorun and Sandunga Cubana) into Arenas Dance Company (2004), a folkloric and popular dance company with a commitment to sharing Cuban culture in an accessible form for a wide audience.
Nicole Klaymoon: Nicole Klaymoon is the Artistic Director andfounder of Embodiment Project. She received a BA in dance from UCLA and is currently in the Creative Inquiry MFA program at CIIS. She has performed her one-woman show, The Sixth Vowel, at various venues across the country and Europe including the Hip Hop Theater Festival in NYC and DC, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Miami Project Hip Hop, the Bride Theater in Philadelphia, the UC Riverside Theater, and the Edinburgh fringe Festival in Scotland. Founded in 2009, Nicole Klaymoon’s Embodiment Project explores how movement drives narrative, using a variety of urban dance styles and text to enhance notions of “language.” Embodiment Project divides the traditional divide separating the so-called “high art” of modern dance and longstanding culutral traditions connected to “street “ dances.
Carolyn Brandy: Carolyn Brandy has been drumming for over 40 years. She has been instrumental in bringing women to the spirit and healing of the Drum. Carolyn is the Artistic Dreictor of Women Drummers International and co-creator of the Born to Drum Women’s Drum Camp. Shw was the founder of the Bay Area’s favorite marching band, Sistah Boom in 1981. IN 1976, Carolyn co-founded the popular band, Alive! That troured the nation for almost ten years and has four recordings to its credit. She has worked in the Bay Area for many years as a composer, performer, teacher and cultural worker. She is an expert in the folkloric drumming styles found throughout the island of Cuba and is a practitioner of the Yoruba-based religion, Regla de Ocha.
Nina Serrano: Nina Serrano is an American poet, writer, storyteller, and independent media producer who lives in Oakland, California. She is the author of Heartsongs: The Collected Poems of Nina Serrano (1980) and Pass it on!: How to start your own senior storytelling program in the schools (Stagebridge). Her poems are widely anthologized, including the literary anthology, Under the Fifth Sun: Latino Writers from California (Heyday Books), and three anthologies of peace poems edited by Mary Rudge from Estuary Press. She translated two chap books from Peruvian poet Adrian Arias. She currently leads storytelling workshops at senior centers and elementary schools through Stagebridge.org. Serrano has won international film awards, including the XXXIII Mostra internazionale D’Arte Cinematografica award for Que Hacer: What is to Be Done?; and the Kraków, Poland International Short Film Festival award for After the Earthquake: Despues del terremoto.
Maria Loreto Ramirez Morales: Chilean vocalist Maria Loreto was born in the town of Temuco, Chile, the cultural center of the Mapuche Indians who successfully resisted the European invasion and maintained independent control of their territory for over 300 years. Urged on by her father, Loreto began performing when she was five and was an accomplished guitarist at 10. The nearby Mapuche culture influenced the young musician, who learned to play their instruments including the txrompe, pifilas, cascahillas, cultxun, txutxuka. Their spirit of resistance infuses Loreto’s music, which emphasizes social justice and revolutionary songs by artists such as Mercedes Sosa, Inti Illimani, Violeta Parra, Sol y Lluvia, and Victor Jara. Loreto sees music as a way to transfer feelings, emotions, pain, touch hearts and create “conciencia colectiva.”
Yosimar Reyes: From the Mountains of Guerrero, Mexico comes Yosimar Reyes, a Two-Spirit Poet/Activist Based out of San Jose,CA. His style has been described as “a brave and vulnerable voice that shines light on the issues affecting Queer Immigrant Youth and the many disenfranchised communities in the U.S and throughout the world.” Yosimar has been featured in the Documentary 2nd Verse: the Rebirth of Poetry (2ndversefilm.com) and has been published in Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry (Floricanto Press). His words have open up concerts for Carlos Santana in his latest endeavor Architects of a New Dawn, a multimedia project.
Paloma McFly: at 14 years old Paloma is dance student, prolific songwriter and powerful speaker. At last year’s Guardianas de la Vida, she received a standing ovation for her dance/spoken word piece.
DELIRA: Delira is an acoustic string ensemble: violin, viola, cello, and bass that accompanies Teresa Contreras, a strong vocalist who leads the audience through a spectrum of emotions. Playing both classic and original tunes, Delira aims to raise consciousness around Latino culture, history and current issues.
Inspector Gadje: Insepctor Gadje is the collaboration of 12+ bay area musicians, around the shared passion of Balkan romani (“gypsy”) brass music. Hailing from widely different backgrounds, they studied under several local and international masters and have developed an unique voice over the last 2 years by playing from town squares in mexico to venues such as the Fox theatre in Oakland. The name is not only a playful reference to the popular cartoon, but also the band non-Romani identity as “gadje”. Through the study and performance of its music, Inspector Gadje pays homage to Romani culture and community, all the while acknowledging our position as cultural outsiders and allies.
FOR CALENDAR EDITORS
What: Guardianas de la Vida, A healing arts music, dance and poetry festival honoring the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
When: Saturday, November 24th at 7pm
Where: Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF CA 94110